The Titans appear to be making a change at quarterback.
According to Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean, the Titans “plan” to go with rookie Zach Mettenberger as their starter for Sunday’s game against Houston.
Fourth-year pro Jake Locker, who has missed the last two games with a right thumb injury, went through a limited practice on Wednesday. Charlie Whitehurst, not Mettenberger, has filled in for Tennessee in Locker’s absence.
A sixth-round pick from LSU, the 6-foot-5, 244-pound Mettenberger has appeared in one regular season game for Tennessee, completing 2-of-5 passes for 17 yards with a pick in a lopsided loss at Indianapolis. In the preseason, Mettenberger completed 47-of-68 passes for 659 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He also lost three fumbles.
The 23-year-old Mettenberger is nearly 11 months removed from an ACL tear that ended his collegiate season. Should he make his first NFL start on Sunday, it will come against a Texans defense featuring an MVP candidate in defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
When asked about Locker’s status as the top quarterback on Monday, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt seemed to indicate Locker remained the starter.
“Nothing’s changed from the quarterback perspective,” Whisenhunt said, according to the club.
Also on Monday, Whisenhunt suggested giving Mettenberger more reps was more of a media issue than a serious in-house consideration.
“That seems to be a question you guys are saying more than I am. I’m focused on trying to prepare our team each week and play better,” Whisenhunt said.
The Titans did not make Locker available to the media Wednesday. Also, Whitehurst told reporters he was not permitted to talk on Wednesday, according to the Tennessean.
Mettenberger saw an uptick in reps with the starting offense on Wednesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
If Locker is healthy enough to play but is being replaced by Mettenberger, it throws Locker’s long-term future in Tennessee into further doubt. He is not signed beyond this season, and Whisenhunt was not the Titans’ head coach when the franchise took Locker No. 8 overall in 2011.
On Wednesday, Whisenhunt indicated Locker was making strides in his recovery, saying the quarterback “did pretty much everything” in the team’s first workout of the week.
The Titans (2-5) are three games behind the Colts in the AFC South.